TV has made it to your smartphone in a big way, with major broadcasters being joined by start-ups that have established themselves as big players in the market. To help you choose where you get your latest onscreen entertainment from, we’re taking a look at some of the biggest names and how they perform.
One of the most high-profile streaming services around, with thousands of things to delve into. Despite its film-based origins, Netflix has become widely associated with television shows, and has moved into producing highly rated dramas like House of Cards.
On a smartphone, users get a brilliantly simple interface with recommendations and lists of shows that you mean to watch. Netflix also works well with Apple TV and Google’s Chromecast, for streaming to a bigger display.
Netflix has some big names on its roster. The aforementioned House of Cards is joined by Breaking Bad and Sons of Anarchy, along with lighter fare such as Arrested Development. Also, the £5.99 subscription fee can’t really be faulted, although this is going up a little for new users.
That rise in the subscription fee may put some people off. Netflix’s line-up is also a bit thin on the ground when it comes to movies.
The mobile experience is seamless and great for watching on the move. Coupled with the low fee and the fantastic roster of TV shows, Netflix is a good bet.
Sky’s answer to TV streaming, Now TV has the backing of one of the biggest names in broadcasting. Splitting content into three different categories of TV, movies and sport allows users to pay for exactly what they want.
Now TV’s mobile app is fully featured and offers everything you could want from it, making it a decent rival to Netflix overall.
Game of Thrones, to be direct. Although Now TV has had some streaming troubles with the hit show recently, its deal with the fantasy series’ US maker HBO is a big shout for it.
Those streaming troubles could put people off. Also, while the ‘Entertainment’ (read as ‘TV’) pass is only £4.99 per month, adding the movies and sport subscriptions too could ramp up the cost.
In a perfect world we’d probably sign up for both Netflix and Now TV. There’s little difference in usability between the two so any choice comes down to the shows on offer. Game of Thrones or House of Cards?
Amazon Prime Instant Video
The new iteration of what used to be known as LoveFilm, the awkwardly titled streaming service is accessible to Amazon Prime customers, or can be used for £5.99 per month. The online retailer has an enormous library of titles at its disposal, and the mobile app allows you to easily switch between movies and TV shows.
Amazon Prime Instant Video is great for movies, and even though the UK version has less on offer than its US counterpart its roster is still very well stocked.
Amazon can’t match Netflix for TV shows, and there isn’t app available for Android outside of the Kindle Fire tablet range.
If you make use of Amazon Prime’s free delivery options already then signing up to the instant video service seems a natural thing to do. Otherwise, it may be better to look at another option before diving into what Amazon has to offer.
Another streaming service with a big-name backer, Blinkbox is Tesco’s foray into the modern age of broadcasting. With some impressive shows on its line-up the service has a lot to offer, but Blinkbox is let down by the fact that it is only available for the iPad and certain Android tablets.
There are some big movie names on Blinkbox, such as the recent Robocop film. Tesco has also arranged a tie-in with HBO that brings the brilliant Game of Thrones to your tablet, although the latest series is missing from the list.
Blinkbox doesn’t work on a monthly subscription, instead asking you to pay for things show-by-show. These prices are equivalent to DVDs, and getting access to all six series of Breaking Bad would set you back a staggering £92.94.
To put it very bluntly, no. For that Breaking Bad price tag you could get more than a year on Netflix, during which you could watch all of Walter White’s exploits and enjoy thousands of other shows as well. Unless there’s something on Blinkbox that you really want and can’t find anywhere else, then it may be one to avoid.
If you want to watch everything on the big screen instead, you can still make use of your phone. Take a look at our tips on using your smartphone as a TV remote.